Joint press release – 9th meeting of the Association Council between Egypt and the European Union

The ninth meeting of the Association Council of the European Union and Egypt was held in Luxembourg on June 19, 2022. The event confirmed the strong and multifaceted partnership between the two parties.

The Association Council adopted new partnership priorities to guide relations until 2027, in line with the EU’s new Mediterranean agenda and its economic and investment plan, as well as the Egyptian strategy for sustainable development Vision 2030. Guided by the partnership priorities, the EU and Egypt will continue to deepen their dialogue and cooperation around three main priorities: (i) a sustainable modern economy and social development; (ii) Partnership in foreign policy, and (iii) Strengthening stability.

Both parties confirmed the great importance they attach to their relationship and underlined the strategic nature and potential of the partnership.

The EU reported that the Multiannual Indicative Program (MIP) 2021-2027 has also been approved. As part of this PMI, a first tranche of €240 million will be made available for the period 2021-2024 to support Egypt in the areas of green and sustainable development; human development, economic resilience and building prosperity through green and digital transition; and social cohesion, a modern and democratic state in accordance with the priorities identified in the partnership priorities. This will allow the EU and Egypt to cooperate closely towards a long-term sustainable socio-economic recovery and accelerate the transition to a green and circular economy. The MIP will also support the implementation of the flagship initiatives of the Economic and Investment Plan of the New Agenda for the Mediterranean.

The EU and Egypt are important trading partners. The two parties will work together to strengthen bilateral trade relations, investments and the further integration of Egypt into regional and global value chains.

The EU and Egypt will work together to strengthen the competitiveness of the economy and support the development of the private sector, both in urban and rural areas. Particular attention will be given to promoting the empowerment of women and the role of women and youth in society and the economy. Employment opportunities will be enhanced through continued support to the education system.

Cooperation will also focus on improving the delivery of basic health services through the modernization of health systems.

Both parties reaffirmed their commitment to work together on climate change mitigation and adaptation, including the sustainable management of resources, with particular emphasis on water management, the development of sustainable agriculture and the expansion of public transport networks. The diversification of energy sources and the green energy transition, including the expansion of renewable energies and energy efficiency actions, will be a central element of these efforts. Both sides also indicated their intention to work on other crucial areas such as biodiversity conservation, combating desertification and land degradation, and disaster risk reduction. The EU signaled its support for the work of the Egyptian Presidency of COP27 to ensure the success of the COP. including an outcome that will deliver greater global ambition.

The EU and Egypt confirmed the importance of cooperation in research and innovation in sectors such as energy, water, agri-food and health, as well as in advancing technologies digital.

Egypt and the EU remain committed to promoting democracy, fundamental freedoms and human rights, gender equality and equal opportunities as constitutional rights of all its citizens, in accordance with their obligations international. In this regard, the two parties agreed to deepen their political dialogue on human rights. The EU and Egypt agree that civil society and the private sector are important and powerful contributors to the implementation of their partnership priorities and can support the ongoing sustainable development process in Egypt.

The fight against terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism is a common objective of the EU and Egypt as part of the partnership priorities. Both sides welcomed their upcoming co-chairs of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) from March 2023 and reiterated their commitment to addressing the root causes of terrorism with full respect for human rights. and fundamental freedoms, in order to successfully counter and prevent radicalization and foster socio-economic development. The EU and Egypt remain determined to cooperate in the fight against violent extremism conducive to terrorism and all forms of discrimination, including Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia.

The EU and Egypt underlined the importance of adopting a comprehensive approach to migration governance, which involves creating regular migration channels, tackling the root causes of irregular migration, tackling smuggling migration and human trafficking, as well as ensuring dignified and sustainable return and reintegration. The EU and Egypt are committed to protecting the rights of migrants and refugees.

On regional and global issues, the EU and Egypt stressed that peace, security and a rules-based multilateral order are at the heart of their long-standing partnership. Recalling United Nations General Assembly resolutions ES-11/1 and ES-11/2 on Ukraine, for which they both voted in favour, they reaffirm their common principles in accordance with the United Nations Charter on respect for international law, territorial integrity and national sovereignty, and the need to refrain from the use of force, to respect international humanitarian law and to resolve conflicts by peaceful means as the basis for cooperation international. They condemned all violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights in conflict areas, and called for strict respect for international humanitarian law.

The EU and Egypt expressed concern about the impact of the war on increasing food insecurity around the world, as well as on global supply chains and rising energy prices and raw material. The EU will support Egypt’s efforts to improve its grain production and storage facilities with €100 million from the ‘Food and Resilience Facility’ to provide partial relief to deal with the consequences rising food and commodity prices.

Given the strategic orientation of the partnership, the EU and Egypt are committed to strengthening foreign policy cooperation at the level of bilateral, regional and international organisations, notably within the United Nations and multilateral fora, including the Union for the Mediterranean, the League of Arab States (LAS) and the African Union. In this context, the EU and Egypt exchanged views, notably on the Middle East peace process, Libya, Syria, the Horn of Africa and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam .

The EU recognizes the central role played by Egypt in supporting peace and security in the Middle East and Africa. The EU and Egypt reaffirmed that the only path to a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the two-state solution that ends the occupation and leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state , contiguous, sovereign and viable, on the lines of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with the State of Israel in peace, in accordance with international law and the resolutions of the Security Council of the UN. They warned of the danger inherent in the absence of a political horizon to end the conflict and stressed the need to relaunch serious and meaningful negotiations to achieve the two-state solution and restore confidence in the process of peace in the Middle East. They condemned the construction and expansion of settlements, the confiscation of land and the forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes, as illegal measures under international law, which undermine the viability of the two-State solution and the prospects of peace.

The EU also welcomes Egypt’s efforts to become an energy hub in the region with a focus on renewable energy, the ongoing cooperation under the EMGF and the implementation mutually beneficial energy projects, including interconnection projects between Egypt and the EU.

Considering the importance of the Nile as the sole source of water resources and livelihoods for Egypt in a context of unique water scarcity, the EU and Egypt welcomed the statement by the President of the United Nations Security Council on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issued on September 15, 2021 regarding the conclusion of a mutually acceptable and binding agreement on the filling and operations of the GERD. Achieving such an agreement as soon as possible is a top priority for the EU and Egypt in order to protect water security in Egypt and to promote peace and stability in the whole region. The EU is ready to support the talks led by the African Union and to play a more active role, if useful and desirable for all parties, by highlighting its rich experience in the management of shared water resources. in accordance with international law. With the political will and the support of the international community, this dispute could become an opportunity for many people. Millions of people who live in the Nile Basin could benefit from a GERD agreement that would create predictability and open the door to foreign investment in energy, food security and water security.

The meeting was co-chaired by Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, and by Sameh Shoukry, Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs, in the presence of Oliver Varhelyi, Commissioner political neighborhood and enlargement negotiations, as well as the Foreign Ministers of the EU Member States, Ioannis Kasoulides of Cyprus and Nikos Dendias of Greece, and Daniela Grigore Gîtman, State Secretary for European Affairs of Romania .

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Andrew B. Reiter